AYR, Ont. (July 18, 2016) – What could have been an excellent outing at Sunset Speedway turned in to an evening of disappointment for JR Fitzpatrick on Saturday night. The AYR, Ont. driver was competing in round three of the Avenue Auto Parts Super Late Model Series at the Innisfil, Ont. track.
The afternoon started with an eighth-place qualifying effort following a busy afternoon practice session. While still in the top half of the field, Fitzpatrick felt he had a car capable of starting in the top-five.
“We were decent in practice and I was confortable. We went out for qualifying and I thought I drove well. I didn’t think it was the 8th-place qualifying lap, but it was,” Fitzpatrick said.
The time trial position wasn’t indicative of the car’s speed come race time as Fitzpatrick quickly made his way forward and was in third by lap 10. From there he was poised to overtake Jeff Hanley for second until repeated contact between the two cars spoiled the battle.
“The car was good in the race. I worked my way up to third and was going to pass for second. Hanley doesn’t have a spotter or mirror and he hit me in the door twice. Because of it, it bent my rims and bent some stuff in the front end pretty good,” said a frustrated Fitzpatrick. “I was up to his door. I don’t know how much further I have to get.”
A bent front end and transmission issues as a result of the heavy contact forced Fitzpatrick to retire early from the 75-lap race.
“We tried to come in and fix the transmission, but it wouldn’t stay in gear so we parked it,” Fitzpatrick said.
Continued Fitzpatrick: “It was working well and I was rolling around the top. There was an early caution and a couple of guys went to the back, but even still my car was working really well. I was happy and I think we would have raced really well, but he ruined it for us.”
Fitzpatrick is putting the race behind him and has already shifted his focus to Friday’s OSCAAR Super Late Model event at his home track, Delaware Speedway. Fitzpatrick grew up racing Junior Late Models at the London-area half-mile and also competed there in CASCAR Super Series competition during his early years of racing. There’s still plenty of work to do though for the JR Motorsports team during the short week.
“We’re taking three cars there. Two of them have transmission problems right now, so we’re getting that fixed and rebuilt. I’m excited. I have more laps there than anybody on the OSCAAR tour. I’m looking forward to going back and racing,” Fitzpatrick said excitedly.
It’s an exciting opportunity for Fitzpatrick and all of the OSCAAR drivers. Delaware is the only remaining half-mile oval on the tour, which makes it both enjoyable and challenging.
“I have a pretty good idea what we’re going to go with. I’m confident in it and our whole team. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Fitzpatrick said.
Find detailed event information at www.delawarespeedway.com.
JR Fitzpatrick – 6 Starts: 2 Wins, 5 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s
JR Fitzpatrick’s 2016 OSCAAR Super Late Model season is presented by a number of dedicated sponsors, including: Auto Parts Centres, Meineke Car Care, Transaxle Heavy Truck & Trailer Parts, Cambridge Rigging, Equipment Express, Jenco Equipment, McColl Racing Enterprises, Creative Edge Signs, Wix Filters, Permatex, Driven Steering Wheels, Spray Nine, Deon Racecars, APX Racewear, Clayton Johns Media and ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs.
Prepared By Clayton Johns Media
Photo attachment: JR Fitzpatrick drives his No.84 Super Late Model earlier this season at Flamboro Speedway. (Eric Uprichard/Image Factor Media photo).